A217 – Voting Procedures Amendment Watch

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Saracen's Fez
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A217 – Voting Procedures Amendment
Proposed by: mr T 999 (Libertarian)
Seconded by: Andrew97 MP (Conservative), Connor27 MP (Libertarian), Joep95 MP (Labour), Pugglet MP (Liberal Democrat), SoggyCabbages MP (Labour)

To amend section 7 in the Guidance Document from:

7) Voting on bills, amendments, motions, and petitions should have the following 3 options:

i) As many as are of that opinion, Aye
ii) On the contrary, No
iii) Abstain

To:

7) Voting on bills, amendments, motions, and petitions should have the following 2 options:

i) As many as are of that opinion, Aye
ii) On the contrary, No


Notes
This House notes the increase in the number of abstains this term and last term. We call for the option of abstaining to be removed to force MPs to pass a judgement. If a bill is not liked, no should be the chosen option. Similarly, if an MP truly is neutral on something, the status quo should still be chosen. A change should only be voted for, or indeed not voted against, if the MP fully agrees with the change.

There has also been a trend of MPs abstaining to avoid voting in favour of a bill they like when the quality of the bill is not great. This amendment forces those MPs to make a decision, which will hopefully be to reject the bill, as a way of encouraging the bill authors to write a bill of a higher standard.
Last edited by Saracen's Fez; 1 month ago
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Saracen's Fez
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I've realised that mr T 999 is – by my recollection – no longer an MP and unable to be one of the five MPs named on this. I'm therefore locking this thread until a fifth MP seconder can be found.
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Saracen's Fez
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I've been informed (and am satisfied) that Joep95 is also willing to second this, so debate has been re-opened.
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JMR2019.
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You can abstain in the real parliament, though. It’s there for a reason, for MPs who do not have any reason to go either way to show that they have bothered to make a vote.
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Connor27
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Aye - forcing MPs to actually have a position rather than sitting on the fence will help this place in terms of activity.
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Andrew97
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I kind of hope that if this goes to division we get 50 Abstains...
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Pugglet
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I agree, as someone who abstained a lot when I couldn't be bothered to read the thing I was voting on, this forces activity.
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Saracen's Fez
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It's nice for once to have an item where I'm allowed to take part in debate.

I think it's frankly unfair to require MPs to cast votes, at risk of losing their seats, and then to tell them that they have no option to abstain. I don't know of a legislature anywhere which requires both of these, and I see no reason to become that new case.

If people aren't all that bothered about your items, maybe you should produce more interesting ones!
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CatusStarbright
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Nay, there should always be an option to abstain. This is particularly pertinent where MPs are subject to party whips but feel they cannot in good conscience follow that whip. Abstention allows MPs to refuse to support a bill or motion while retaining party loyalty and not voting against legislation that they are being whipped in favour for, which can have serious consequences for the MP in question.
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CatusStarbright
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(Original post by Andrew97)
I kind of hope that if this goes to division we get 50 Abstains...
Wouldn't that be ironic!

(Original post by Pugglet)
I agree, as someone who abstained a lot when I couldn't be bothered to read the thing I was voting on, this forces activity.
That's mostly down to the MP in question however. An MP can just as blindly follow a party suggestion, or the vote of others in the party, so this does not necessarily force activity.
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Saunders16
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Just to throw an idea into the mix: abstaining would still be possible. You would have the choice to not vote on the legislation submitted. However, your ability to do this would be limited as you would need to be careful as to not fall below the percentage required to keep your seat.

In real life, voting reviews do not exist. We do not follow real life in this regard because it would be bad for the game. If abstaining is bad for the game, it logically follows that limiting it would be beneficial.



With that being said, I will probably vote against this. Current activity levels already make it difficult to maintain seats and, frankly, more by-elections is the last thing the House needs. For less active members, the abstain option is helpful, however frustrating it is when certain members use it too much.
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Saunders16
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(Original post by Pugglet)
I agree, as someone who abstained a lot when I couldn't be bothered to read the thing I was voting on, this forces activity.
I think that is more of an argument for parties engaging their members properly. It is not the House's fault that your party expect low standards from their MPs and that you cannot be bothered to use a debating society to express opinions.
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Tanqueray91
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(Original post by Pugglet)
I agree, as someone who abstained a lot when I couldn't be bothered to read the thing I was voting on, this forces activity.
As an MP here...
you shouldn't have to be forced
do your job as MP or resign
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Tanqueray91
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However, I do not agree.
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Tanqueray91
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(Original post by Saunders16)
Just to throw an idea into the mix: abstaining would still be possible. You would have the choice to not vote on the legislation submitted. However, your ability to do this would be limited as you would need to be careful as to not fall below the percentage required to keep your seat.

In real life, voting reviews do not exist. We do not follow real life in this regard because it would be bad for the game. If abstaining is bad for the game, it logically follows that limiting it would be beneficial.



With that being said, I will probably vote against this. Current activity levels already make it difficult to maintain seats and, frankly, more by-elections is the last thing the House needs. For less active members, the abstain option is helpful, however frustrating it is when certain members use it too much.
Interesting...
What if you could abstain, but the abstains would count as missed vote...
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04MR17
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(Original post by Pugglet)
I agree, as someone who abstained a lot when I couldn't be bothered to read the thing I was voting on, this forces activity.
I think this would do the opposite, it would deter people to want to be MPs and put more pressure through the whip.

Abstentions offer a convenient option of allowing someone who doesn't agree with legislation being put forward by their party or government to vote on it, without compromising their own party's or government's whip, and without being dishonest to themselves. I will oppose this amendment as I seek to protect the rights of individual MPs in this house to vote honestly, in line with their beliefs.
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Tanqueray91
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(Original post by 04MR17)
I think this would do the opposite, it would deter people to want to be MPs and put more pressure through the whip.

Abstentions offer a convenient option of allowing someone who doesn't agree with legislation being put forward by their party or government to vote on it, without compromising their own party's or government's whip, and without being dishonest to themselves. I will oppose this amendment as I seek to protect the rights of individual MPs in this house to vote honestly, in line with their beliefs.
Thats' a *******s reason.
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04MR17
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(Original post by Tanqueray91)
Thats' a *******s reason.
:ta:
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Tanqueray91
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(Original post by 04MR17)
:ta:
I don't know what. said
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Jammy Duel
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If abstention is to be disallowed then changes to voting reviews should be considered too to account for the rise of passive abstention that would come as a consequence, while I agree that some people abstain far too much that does not mean that abstnetions serve no purpose, first and foremost they allow members to show support in principle to ideas, and perhaps more important for members of parties that whip regularly it allows limited defiance of the party line that would not be possible if we were to get rid of active abstention, especially when passive abstnetion potentially has such serious consequences when it comes to voting reviews.
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